Your Complete Guide to Saunas

The many health benefits, and a complete guide to what to look for when buying a sauna.


Tips for Using Your Sauna

We customized our sauna by adding a couple of shelves, a magazine rack, and a little wood basket with soft organic cotton hand towels in it to wipe our sweat off with. Here are the products we chose:

  1. Wood shelves: These are easy to install, just make sure to measure carefully and get your own screws (the ones that come with it are too long and might go through to the outside of the sauna). Also, make sure to add one screw from the top of the shelf into the bottom support, to prevent the top of the shelf from falling off when you put a glass on it.
  2. Custom Cushions: Get them made in any fabric you like, and sized exactly to match your sauna.
  3. Facecloths: These are super soft and absorbent, and made from organic bamboo.
  4. Magazine holder: This one also has a place under the magazines to hang your facecloth.
Your Complete Guide to Saunas

Sauna customizations

Treatment times vary but usually last for 15–30 minutes (although some experts recommend no more than 20). Also like a tanning bed, patients might be told to gradually turn up the heat a notch every few minutes to reach the highest amount.

  • Hydration & Diet: As with any detox program, it is very important to stay hydrated. There will be a lot of perspiration, so you want to hydrate sufficiently. Drink 1-2 glasses of spring or filtered water before and after sauna therapy. (Note: Even if you initially don’t sweat, it doesn’t mean that the light isn’t working. It may take a few sessions before your pores are unclogged, and then you will start to perspire.) Try to sauna on an empty stomach, so that your body has a chance to focus on healing and detoxing, rather than digesting. Avoid meals high in sodium the day before or of, to avoid the body retaining water, and working against the sweat process.
  • Electrolytes & Minerals:  Make sure you are eating healthy when using the sauna. To replace minerals lost in sweating, be sure to supplement with kelp. Kelp is rich in minerals, protein, the whole range of vitamins, folate, phytonutrients, small amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, and rich in iodine. Most importantly, it helps bind with toxic heavy metals to be expelled through perspiration. The kelp must be Nature’s Way brand, or Frontier Herbs granules or powder because some kelp is toxic. Take up to 4000 mg daily.

Pets should not be allowed into the sauna as they may not perspire as easily as humans, and may overheat in the sauna. To treat pets, use a single infrared heat lamp and make sure your pet can move away if he/she gets too hot.

Readers: Have any questions about saunas?
Want to share your sauna experience?
Comment below!

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A writer, artist, and designer since she was young enough to put pencil to paper, Hilary taught herself code and created Urbanette when she was a teenager. Currently, she lives in Monte Carlo, but spent the past decade living in NYC, still considers herself a New Yorker, and visits regularly. She's always traveling, looking for hot new topics, destinations, and life hacks to bring to Urbanette readers.

Reader Discussion: 38 Comments

  1. Rita Hajjar

    I live in a cold climate. I’m looking for an outdoor infared sauna. Does anyone own one of these in the upper states where we have brutal winters? I really want to know if they are usable in the winter months. Any advice is appreciated!! Rita

  2. We have an extra room at home and it’s just where we keep random stuff. I’m thinking of turning it into an at home spa.

  3. Cristina Bernal

    Thanks for making this very detailed guide about saunas. My only question is, I can’t really buy my own so I usually just result to going in saunas that are in my city. How do I know if the saunas they have are safe just like what you said in this article? Is it proper to ask them? It’s not like they will tell the truth anyway. Most concierge employees wouldn’t even disclose such matters to the public or they don’t really know anything about the equipment there.

  4. Can my grandparents use saunas too? My only concern is that it might be too hot for them and instead of reducing the risk for Alzheimers, I might end up making them sick.?

  5. Even in the old times, people really benefit from traditional hot saunas. No wonder!

  6. NIR therapy seems the best fit for me. I want to age gracefully and I could use elastin and collagen boost in my body. I want younger looking skin that won’t look tired despite stress. I bet a lot of women would agree to that because it’s a luxury to have great glowing skin nowadays, becase of environmental factors such as pollution and intense UV rays. Saunas could revive our skin with continued use. It would be really worth it to spend a lot from this tech.

    • Rosalie Wade

      I’m one of those ladies who need it too.

  7. Jessi

    Those are very solid claims. I just think that saunas aren’t for everyone. Personally, I don’t like heat because I feel dizzy and claustrophobic.

  8. I’m just going to go on a spa and sauna place. I don’t really plan on purchasing my own sauna and add up to my electricity bill.

  9. Are hot baths the same? I know it’s not as hot or as effective as saunas, but the natural steam that comes out of warm baths make our bodies feel good.

  10. Just wanted to remind everyone that you shouldn’t overuse saunas no matter how great the effects are. I even do a certain diet whenever I would use my sauna. I would snack on electrolyte rich foods/snacks and hydrate properly. Or else, your body will feel worse instead of better.

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